For the past 2 years, Poudre School District’s Integrated Services Department has been fortunate to have Hettie Hueber as a part of the team. As a mother of four children, the youngest of which has Down Syndrome, she has offered a unique perspective and insight to a department that is charged with the care and wellbeing of students with disabilities.
To understand Hettie, you must rewind the clock eight-plus years. After raising two children to adulthood, Hettie found herself the mother of a toddler with another baby on the way. When Cora, the youngest of the four came along, life changed forever. Cora was one of about 6,000 babies born in the United States each year with Down Syndrome, making it the most common genetic condition according to the National Down Syndrome Society.
“In every cell in the human body there is a nucleus, where genetic material is stored in genes. Genes carry the codes responsible for all of our inherited traits and are grouped along rod-like structures called chromosomes. Typically, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.” (For this information and more regarding Down syndrome visit NationalDownSyndromeSociety.org)
Apart from concerns related to a heart condition Cora was born with, the Hueber family was elated to have their beautiful baby join their clan. Hettie did not let the concerns of others weigh her down. “I never needed to grieve,” shared Hettie, though she did wish that people would have congratulated her on her baby girl rather than offer condolences. Life had changed forever, by offering a brighter outlook on life! Cora has brought perspective and spunk to the family. “There are enough negative things happening in the world; it helps you focus on the positive and what is important,” says Hettie.
When asked what she wished people knew about her, the most important take-away was that being the mother of a child with a disability is not a tragedy. She believes the most important thing you can teach your children is to be kind. “You can be tenacious, driven and successful in this world and still be kind.” As a self-proclaimed “inclusionist”, Hettie’s desire is that all students everywhere be taught together. By helping children understand and embrace kindness, combined with growing up together all throughout their school years, she trusts that a world of accepting and inclusive adults will be formed.
We wish Hettie good luck on her next journey of student teaching in Early Childhood Education.